Free web tools for educators

The Social Web Browser.

Flock is an amazing new web browser that makes it easier to share media and connect to other people online. Share photos, automatically stay up-to-date with new content from your favorite sites, and search the Web with the most advanced Search Toolbar available today.”

I have been using a web browser (Safari or Firefox) called Flock for a couple of months. It is an easy way to keep track of changes made to your class blogs and wikis as it has a RSS aggregator built in. It also has bookmark syncing with del.icio.us, WYSIWYG, drag-and-drop blogging tools and Flickr support.

This is the best tool for searching, blogging, shared bookmarks and shared photos.
Switching to Flock from Firefox, Safari is also easy. Flock imports all of your cookies, saved passwords, bookmarks and browsing history.
Read these reviews by Paul Stamatiou and Wired to find out more

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Flickr – Flickr is a social photo sharing site. Additionally, you can search for Creative Commons images that teachers and students can legally have the rights to use in their work.

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pbWiki & WikiSpaces – A Wiki is a type of website that allows users to add, remove, or otherwise edit and change most content very quickly and easily. A very useful and user-friendly collaborative learning tool.

  • Class website
  • Online multimedia “textbook” – Course materials/assessment
  • Group editing enables projects with other classes or schools
  • Research
  • Group or individual assessment project
  • Parents can see students’ work

Wikispaces is giving away 100,000 ad-free wikis to educators and I switched from pbwiki for this reason. It has a simple WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that supports embeddable media (YouTube or Google Video).

education blogs

Edublogs – Weblogs – Online journals (blogs): A powerful tool for writing and communicating. Teachinghacks.com has a guide on using weblogs in education, which lists the following uses for blogs in the classroom:

1. use blogs for real-world writing experiences

2. prolong discussions outside the classroom or for question and answer

3. easily include discussions with authors or guest speakers

4. quickly give feedback to students, and students to each other (no stacks of paper)

5. track student writing development

6. encouraging students to help each other with their writing

7. create a classroom newsletter by using a multi-user blog for the different topics. I.E. classroom trips, sports, upcoming trips …

8. create a school website with sections that can be easily updated

9. students using peer networks to develop their own knowledge

10. update new information such as homework and assignments

del.icio.us
1) Del.icio.us – My students and I use this social bookmarking engine to store our favourite sites online, so that they can be accessed on any computer. Fantastic if your computer dies, which happened to me recently. Luckily, all my bookmarks were stored on del.ici.ous so I did not have to go back find all the sites it took months to find. This is a fantastic research tool for students because students can share their bookmarks and subscribe to other people’s favourites so that you can refine you web searches on particular subjects by checking pages other researchers tagged as useful. If thousands of other people have saved a page on WWI as a favourite, there’s a fair chance that it will be useful.

To read more about it, check out this informative article at PBS’ Learning Source.

5 thoughts on “Free web tools for educators

  1. Just a quick note to let you know that all educational PBwikis are ad-free (and we’ve added special new features like Plugins to embed calendars, videos, photos, and more).

    -Ramit
    PBwiki Co-founder

  2. Thanks for the kind words about Flock! One of our continuing goals is to be usable as an educational tool.
    We have a new release (0.9) coming out in about 6-7 weeks. I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what could make it more helpful for educators.

    Flock on!

    Evan Hamilton
    Flock Community Ambassador
    evan at flock dot com

  3. Cindy, I’m glad that you have liked using Flock too. I like your list, and appreciate your feedback at Heyjude. Probably my most favourite tool is delicious – a must for all professionals! Cheers, Judy

  4. Hi Cindy,

    My name is Elvine from Pageflakes and I was entertained by your helpful list of educational tools–including Flock.

    In light of available web tools for educators, Pageflakes has recently launched an “Educational Start Page” Of course, your background plays a big part and I would love to hear your feedback– teacher.pageflakes.com (www not required). It is still a work in progress, and your comments are more than welcome.

    The “Teacher Edition”, which is dedicated to teachers around the world, is based on the original Pageflakes technology. The page still offers sharing and publishing options, adding your own content, customizing the page, changing the layout – all for free and even without signing up. In addition, we have customized the gallery (click on the big, golden button at the upper right hand corner) and populated it with educational tools and news. We have also created a default page setup (the one that you see when you first check out the site).

    On a side note, I would be interested in featuring Thinking 2.0 within our directory as well: pageflakes.com/Community/Pages/Page.aspx?Search=teaching
    Please let me know if you are interested in learning more and I can send you additional information. I am also available for a call at your convenience to discuss in more detail. And by the way, congratulations on your nomination for the Edublog Award.

    With Best Regards,

    Elvine

    My Pagecast!
    pageflakes.com/elvine
    Pageflakes Inc.
    pageflakes.com

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